The 2008 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers provides evidence that within the last year interested buyers who find a home ON THE INTERNET took action. With 87% of home buyers looking online for their next home to purchase in 2008, one can only imagine what the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers will release. A total of 35% of purchasers drove by the home after finding it online, with 29% walking though the home. Apparent by now, internet marketing is a tool that is and will be playing a much bigger role in real estate advertising than ever before. Simply put, it cannot be ignored in such a competitive industry as real estate.  Breaking this down one more level, it is widely known that web surfers use search engines 85% of the time to find websites.  The R/E industry could be an exception with flagship properties like Realtor.com, Willow.com, etc — but in local market searches, you can bet there is great opportunities for agents and their agencies to rank well in organic search — or in the always expensive PPC listings.

Internet marketing is progressively pushing more real estate professionals to put their face & personality online. Utilizing tools such as blogs, social media networks, and optimizing their websites to increase traffic, professionals are able to draw in these savvy internet, decision-driven home buyers of today. Effective real estate professionals ultimately do not have time to understand the “ins & outs” of online marketing. Triangle Direct Media combines new media marketing expertise and strategies to give real estate professionals a face online and in turn, increase their search engine rankings. With these solid blog marketing strategies our real estate clients have seen vast improvement in their rankings, helping them get ahead of the curve with the use of internet marketing.

With the housing market taking a nose dive, real estate agents are taking advantage of the impact of search, utilizing sound strategies that help gain new clients. An article from Search Engine Land talks about a few vital tips that help real estate agents get to the top in organic search results:

Getting external links to your site from relevant sources in or related to the real estate industry is crucial in climbing search engine rankings. The more relevant the external links pointing to your site are, the more advantageous it is to your rankings. This doesn’t mean go buy 100 general links to your site –you need to make sure the linking is gradual; otherwise Google filters could flag your site and possibly penalize your site for unnatural link graph patterns. Get a head start on gaining external links by making use of well-known, authoritative directories like Yahoo! and BOTW.  You can identify other businesses or consultants in your local market and secure links from their websites.  You can participate in local online communities.  Get your name out there and be a voice in the online real estate market in your geography!  Links will come!

Recently real estate agents are starting to exploit the blogging trend for this purpose, continually developing fresh content for internet users and search engines. By updating your blog on a frequent basis and incorporating backlinks to your site, your search engine rankings can rise. At the same time, online blogging builds brand loyalty and users will be able to connect with you on a conversational level, possibly turning into clients as a result. Develop useful content that users can benefit from, whether its information about the communities you sell properties for or industry related tips and trends.

Triangle Direct Media (TDM), a new media marketing company, helps real estate agents better communicate with current and potential clients while also increasing their search engine rankings through these tactics.  Specifically, TDM assists real estate agents in blog creation and development, helping realtors make the most of buzz marketing in a time of economic downturn.  That’s how the company was founded more than 3 years ago; while the depth and breadth of services has increased to service national retailers with blog marketing, social media & SEO — TDM still knows a thing or two about real estate blog creation and marketing!

The Real Estate market has been seeing an increase in supply with a decrease in demand, making the business more and more competitive. While the economy is down, agents need to focus on marketing themselves rather than their properties. It is important for agents to use this time to maintain a connection with their clients and community, as many are not currently looking to buy. Fortunately, social media marketing strategies help real estate agents effectively communicate with their network and gain a high-touch competitive advantage. By having an active online presence you are automatically having a foot forward compared to your competition. They say that “location, location, location” is important when finding that perfect property to call your next home, well location is just as important on the Internet and in a local online market. CNET News reported the time that people spend on social networking sites is up 83% from a year ago.  By having an absence in social networks, you miss out on new opportunities and potential leads for now and in the future.

By using blogs and niche social networking sites, agents can actively communicate back and forth about key topics in their industry and local markets.  Not only will this give your name more prominence to a larger number of connections, but it will also create a sense of trust and credibility  for current and potential clients. This is an easy way to share information, history, and your expertise about the areas in your market, homes you sell, or even common FAQ’s of customers.  Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself either.  Putting a personal touch in every post and keeping it in a conversational tone, rather than your business lingo, is important. Introduce yourself in these networks and talk about how you became a real estate agent, or even what your other passions are. There is no better time than now to be online promoting yourself and your business. Use this opportunity to engage your readers on a personal level and build a sense of reliance so that when they do want to buy a new home they’ll remember you, just as other Triangle Direct Media clients do.

Searching for your next home has never become so easy with the use of the Internet.  But does it stop there?  An article on Commercial Appeal talks about how a woman found her and her husband a house online, and how her online experience led her to that particular agent.  Stuck at home in bed with her husband in Iraq, Darleen Cervasio relied on interactive sites that featured home prices, photos and virtual tours.  Today online, many listings that do not display these details are often ignored by consumers.  Successful agents understand that in a Web 2.0 world, technology is very important.  Real estate agents need to give online users an “open house” experience on the web to draw buyers in and set their properties apart from others.

Many real estate agents today are turning to the social media trend to reach out to prospects.  Utilizing social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, niche networks and blogs, agents are able to take technology and thus communication to another level.  Interested buyers are no longer looking for authoritative figures, but also personable real estate agents to help find their next home.  Agents are able to use these networks to build relationships with current and potential clients in a pull-oriented marketing method.  Triangle Direct Media offers social media marketing strategies to help real estate agents and their agencies get ahead in today’s high-tech, high-touch society.  Applying highly-effective new media marketing efforts to increase organic search rankings, real estate agents are able to see a shift from traditional marketing strategies.

In follow up from a previous post on how Twitter trends are tapping into real estate, I gathered more useful information for real estate agents due to inspiration from Mark’s comment. As discussed, Twitter is evidently useful and beneficial to the real estate industry. A new, free Twitter application, called TweetLister, allows you to create, post, manage, and schedule commercial, residential, and vacation listings on Twitter. Real estate agents and owners can even track the clicks on their listings. Once viewing tracked clicks, you can then download and print the clicks for each listing for reference. TweetLister provides a detail page for each listing giving the viewer more information that can link them through to your site, as well as providing a contact form so that anyone interested.

From selling properties to renting and leasing, TweetLister provides a simple and handy way to manage all of your listings at once. Allowing you to post and re-use as many listings as desired, TweetLister permits you the ability to schedule frequency of posting a certain listing for a set period of time or even daily until your listing sells. If you have Twitter already, you can use your existing account to get started. TweetLister is just another new media marketing tool that has remarkable potential to benefit real estate companies.

It is key to understand the audience who will be reading the content of your real estate blog. Blogs are a place to connect with readers on a personal level. Since your targeted readers are current or potential customers, you should talk to them as you do your closest friends. You want to put the industry jargon aside, and connect with them through a conversational tone they can understand.

Draw readers to your posts by getting them involved not only on a personal level, but an emotional one as well. Engage readers by answering common questions buyers have, or explaining why reading a certain article will benefit them. By reminding readers the benefits of your blog it will give them a purpose to continue reading other posts. It is also ideal to end posts with a call to action, such as leading readers to your RSS subscription page, or even back to your website where they can search for a new home or contact you via email about selling their own home.

Creating good quality content not only provides quality information to other bloggers, but benefits your real estate business as well (buyers and seller alike). By incorporating keywords that link out to other resource sites and your own business site, you can help to increase your search engine rankings. You want these backlinks attached to top keywords you want to be searchable by. It is also beneficial to link back to other article posts you have created that might add value to the topic you are blogging about. Doing this will give you a greater chance for readers to read more than just one post on your blog, keeping visitors on your site longer.

Many associate Twitter with the common phrase, “What are you doing?” but real estate professionals and industry leaders are giving Twitter a new purpose. As a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time, Twitter can help build your business. A simple, easy and effective approach to increase traffic, just as blogging is. Even better, it can even benefit your real estate blog. By joining twitter, you’ll come to know many members of your community, as they will also get to know you. Twitter tightens communities, builds friends, and deepens relationships through your followers.

In any business, friends are more likely to refer you than are “clients”. Make your clients your “friends” and create a twitter account especially for your current and potential clients. You can post new listings, updates, pictures, video tours, and even link to your real estate blog posts. Using twitter as a 24/7 marketing tool can help you get sales and build rapport with your clients. Connect with your local community through your twitter account to give them the information they want. Have a separate account to connect with real estate industry professionals. Share expertise thoughts, ideas, updates, promotions, and links to helpful blog posts.

Twitterfeed allows you to feed your blog to twitter, also letting you customize how often you want posts. Just like in blogging, you can even include keywords you want to be found for in Twitter. Search.twitter is a feature that allows users to search tweets that people write. To get followers, keyword optimization is key. Once you get followers, you attract more business. Allowing up to 140 characters, Twitter will connect you to 20,000+ people around the world.

You might ask, will I sell a house through Twitter or get a prospective seller to list with me using this thing? The root of all real business comes from making connections, and what better way with real estate than to connect with your local community? Not only that, but you can get followers from almost anywhere. If you send out a tweet linked to a new listing, you have the potential of picking up a buyer or seller. The relationship building, both realtor and otherwise, has a lot of potential. You can put twitter on your web site, your blog, almost any site to attract more traffic to your content and build business. Twitter is just one of many valuable new media marketing and social media tools available to realtors at very cost-effective prices. It just takes dedication, effort and sincerity to become a powerful lead generation tool for your real estate business.

Triangle Direct Media is proud to have sponsored this years Run Walk Festival in Cary NC. The Festival started in 1999 and through the Cary Rotary Club helps to fund programs like:
Life Experiences, The Miracle League, Computers for Kids, Boys and Girls Home at Waccamaw, Service above Self Teaching Award, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and Dictionaries for Kids.
Triangle Direct Media

Triangle Direct Media fielded 3 participants and 1 Volunteer.

Thanks to Scott for getting the ball rolling and volunteering to work the run.

It’s tough to consistently write interesting posts that will keep readers coming back to your real estate blog day after day, especially when you’re competing with thousands of other blogs in the same niche. A great way to take some of this pressure off yourself is to spend a bit of extra time writing real estate guides that will have a long shelf life and attract new search hits for months — or even years — to come.

Think about it: If you mostly write about current events in the industry or how the real estate market is faring today, chances are people won’t be searching for information on these topics six months from now. Your post might get some hits for a week or two, but then the traffic it generates will eventually trickle down to nothing.

But if you write comprehensive guides covering various aspects of real estate transactions — a Buyer’s Guide, Seller’s Guide, Guide to Mortgages, Foreclosure Guide, Home Inspection Guide — you’re sure to get hits for as long as you maintain your blog. Readers are always interested in useful information like this, so publishing a few good guides will do wonders for your stats and might even result in a few solid leads.

When writing your real estate guides, make sure you provide accurate information, sound advice, and your own unique insight that readers won’t be able to find anywhere else. In addition, be sure to revisit your guides once in a while to make updates or corrections when general practices or industry trends change. Doing so will ensure that you continue to get quality traffic from these posts for longer than you thought possible!

Everyone knows that in order for real estate blog marketing to be successful, you have to provide readers with plenty of fresh content that will keep them coming back for more. But this is obviously easier said than done, and we all go through dry spells where we either don’t have the time or the inspiration to keep posting. Here are some alternative ways to generate fresh content when burnout strikes.

Interview an Expert

Most Realtors regularly cross paths with at least half a dozen experts (loan officers, home inspectors, contractors, electricians, etc.) whose knowledge would be beneficial to readers. Come up with 5 frequently asked questions for one of these experts, call to get their answers, and post the results on your blog.

Arrange for a Guest Writer

If one of your experts has more to say than would fit into a single interview, why not invite them to write an entire post on your real estate marketing blog? Most people would jump at the chance to promote their business for free (and to show off their writing chops), so don’t be shy about asking around.

Hire a Ghostwriter

Use a free advertising service such as Craigslist to find an affordable ghostwriter for your blog. You can then lean on the ghostwriter to come up with content whenever you’re too busy to do it yourself. Yes, this will cost a bit of money, but it’s better than letting your blog die a slow death due to lack of posting.

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